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Written Thursday January 7th, 2021 at 10 a.m. Eastern Time (spreads/odds may have changed) First, let’s recap the performance of the NFL picks against the spread (ATS) for the entire 2020 season: 5 STARS: 4-3 record 4 STARS: 9-4-1 record 3 STARS: 10-11-1 record 2 STARS: 4-9-2 record 1 STAR: 9-4 record OVERALL: 36-31-4 record (a 53.7% win rate) If you are betting at -110 odds, you need to win 52.4% of your bets in order to net a profit. When wagering at -105 odds, that figure is 51.2%. In other words, this year’s NFL tips led to a small profit overall (but still a gain nonetheless!). Next week, I’ll show you how my preseason predictions about each team’s win total went. As you’ll see, it did incredibly well and you certainly turned a great profit if you tailed those plays! During the regular season, I did not make a pick on all games. For entertainment purposes, I’ll do it in the playoffs. I will let you know how much confidence I have in each pick. The best part of the NFL season is coming up, so let’s dive right in! WILD CARD GAME #1: INDIANAPOLIS COLTS AT BUFFALO BILLS (-6.5) We are starting strong with my top pick of the weekend: I’m putting my money on the Bills in this matchup. Can you believe Buffalo has beaten the spread in each of their last eight games? That’s unbelievable! Only four teams ended the season by beating the spread on 8+ consecutive games. All of them were winning wagers in their first playoff game. The Colts suffered a big blow in Week 16 when they lost their star left tackle Anthony Castonzo. The team absolutely needs to protect Philip Rivers well because he is a statue in the pocket, and he tends to get bottled up easily. To me, Rivers having no mobility whatsoever is a big factor, as opposed to Josh Allen who can escape the pressure on a regular basis. Also, Indy is great defending the run, but they weren’t nearly as good against the pass where they finished in the middle of the pack in terms of passer rating allowed. Now facing a passing team, that could spell trouble for Indianapolis. The Colts defense overall slowed down as the season progressed. Indeed, they allowed an average of 19.7 points per game through their first nine meetings, while that number increased to 26.4 in the final seven matches. The Bills defense did the exact opposite and seems to be peaking at the right time. They surrendered 28 points per game in the first six contests versus 21 points over the last 10 games. The temperature is expected to be below zero degree Celsius this Saturday. Philip Rivers played his entire career in the warm weather of San Diego and Los Angeles before joining the Colts who play in a stadium covered by a dome. Buffalo wins big and finally gets its first playoff victory since 1995! Official pick: Bills -6.5 WILD CARD GAME #2: LOS ANGELES RAMS AT SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (-3.5) I am not going to bet this game, but if I was forced to do it I’d back the Rams here. The situation at quarterback is unclear for Los Angeles, but the latest reports suggest Jared Goff should be under center. If he is unable to go, John Wolford will take the field. He did better than expected in a must-win game last week. He’s not as good as Goff as a passer, but he was a threat as a runner. I also like the fact that the Rams are expected to get three key players back this weekend: wide receiver Cooper Kupp, left tackle Andrew Whitworth and defensive end Michael Brockers. Seattle’s defense improved a lot late in the season, while L.A.’s defense was strong all season long. This could be a defensive battle, in which case I prefer to go with the underdog. Still, I am not going to pull the trigger on the Rams. Seattle has won 11 consecutive playoff games when favored. They also post a great 6-1 ATS record in wild card games. Lean: Rams +3.5 WILD CARD GAME #3: TAMPA BAY BUCS (-8.5) AT WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM I won’t put money at risk in this game either, but I am leaning towards the Bucs. Alex Smith appeared even more limited than usual last week in Philadelphia, and he really played poorly. Washington’s running game couldn’t get going all night long, and it led to a bad outing by the offense. Now facing the top run defense in the league, how are they going to score points? I simply do not trust Alex Smith to light up the scoreboard, especially with his top two threats, Antonio Gibson and Terry McLaurin, being banged up. So why am I not betting this game then? There are a few numbers and trends that scare me. Since 1970, only three teams were road favorites by 6+ points in the playoffs; all of them lost straight up! Also, the Bucs are 0-4 in primetime games this season. They were really awful in such games. Finally, the only other two squads qualifying for the postseason despite a losing record both covered in their first playoff game. Lean: Bucs -8.5 WILD CARD GAME #4: BALTIMORE RAVENS (-3 OR -3.5) AT TENNESSEE TITANS This time we have a pick that I like enough to put money at risk. In this matchup of the two best running attacks in the league, I am betting the Ravens as 3-point favorites. First, how could I omit mentioning the famous revenge factor, which is largely in favor of Baltimore? Not only did they lose 30-to-24 in overtime back in Week 11, but the Ravens were ousted from the playoffs last year by those same Titans by a 28-to-12 score. Both of these games occurred in Baltimore. The Ravens will be fired up to avenge those losses, and they won’t slow down even if they take the lead this Saturday. The Baltimore train has been picking up some steam recently. John Harbaugh’s team has beaten the spread in each of their final six games. They are also a perfect 6-0 ATS over the past six road playoff games and 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games in January. A piece of information that may be flying under the radar is the fact that Tennessee has three offensive linemen listed as questionable: Rodger Saffold, Ben Jones and Dennis Kelly. Even if they all suit up this Sunday, they are nicked up and could struggle against a tough Baltimore front. If you like betting totals, you may consider grabbing the over for two reasons. All five times that the Titans were underdogs this year, the game went over the total. Secondly, this will be just the third time that a wild card game has a total of 55 points or more. In the previous two instances, the game ended with exactly 73 points scored. Official pick: Ravens -3 Lean: Over 55 WILD CARD GAME #5: CHICAGO BEARS AT NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (-10) This is the third pick that I like enough to call it an “official” pick: I’m grabbing the Saints as 10-point favorites. The Bears have a fairly weak offensive line, so they are likely to struggle against the ferocious Saints defense. Also, Chicago is likely to miss a key piece of their defense due to injury: linebacker Roquan Smith. He exited the regular season finale against the Packers with an elbow injury. It looks like he dislocated his elbow and probably won’t be available this weekend. Meanwhile, the Saints have a good shot to get both Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas on the field. That should be a big boost to their offense. There are several statistics favoring New Orleans: Since 2011, double-digit favorites are 7-1 ATS in playoff games; The Bears are 0-4 ATS over the last two years as underdogs of 6 points or more; Chicago is 0-6 ATS on the road when facing a team with a winning record; Da Bears have a disappointing 6-18 ATS record after a double-digit home loss; The Saints are 4-0 ATS following a win by at least 14 points. Based on these arguments, I’m taking the Saints but for some reason I remain cautious and won’t go big on this one. I still prefer Buffalo and Baltimore this week. Official pick: Saints -10 WILD CARD GAME #6: CLEVELAND BROWNS AT PITTSBURGH STEELERS (-6) I am clearly avoiding this game. Way too many uncertainties surrounding this game. The Browns had some COVID-19 cases, which will prevent head coach Kevin Stefanski, star left guard Joel Bitonio and defensive end Olivier Vernon from taking the field. Other guys are uncertain to suit up this Sunday, including three offensive linemen (Tretter, Teller, Conklin) and a couple of cornerbacks (Denzel Ward and Kevin Johnson). Who will play and who will miss the game? I prefer to avoid putting money at risk on this great AFC North matchup. The only wager I could consider making is betting the over. Why? The over has gone 9-1 with Big Ben under center in home playoff games. Also, the over is 11-3 when teams meet two weeks in a row. Lean: Over 47.5 This should be a fantastic weekend of football, so enjoy it guys! I’ll be back next week for more betting tips for the Divisional Round. Best of luck with your plays! Professor MJ https://youtu.be/KC2UYTUySLI
Written Thursday December 25th, 2020 at 11 a.m. Eastern Time (spreads/odds may have changed) Last week, we had a couple of 5-star picks, which was highly unusual! Bucs +3.5 vs Chiefs (won the bet, but deserved to lose in my opinion); Giants -5.5 at Bengals (lost the bet, but we got screwed by: a) Daniel Jones’ injury; b) a TD on a kickoff return by Cincy; c) a bogus PI penalty that allowed a garbage TD late in the fourth quarter). Our record on 5-star picks: 3-2 this season 8-4 past three years Overall, last week was a lucrative one: a 4-2 record on official picks and a perfect 2-0 on leans. We have been on fire recently with a 10-5-2 ATS record since Week 10. Let’s keep rolling, folks!!! PICK #1 (4 STARS): CLEVELAND BROWNS +6 AT TENNESSEE TITANS I’ve said it a few times this year, and I’ll say it again. In my opinion, the Titans are a good team to bet as underdogs, but they’re a good team to fade as favorites. As a matter of fact, they have beaten the spread just two times the last seven games they were established as favorites. My main concern about this game is Cleveland’s pass defense. They were already without Greedy Williams, and now their other starting cornerback Denzel Ward seems on the wrong side of questionable for Sunday. That could open up the field for A.J. Brown. Other than that, I like the Browns here. To me, the spread is way too high. Cleveland should be fine running the ball against Tennessee, whose defense has been average. Meanwhile, the Browns are fairly strong defending the run and they are welcoming back stud defensive end Myles Garrett this weekend. The revenge factor comes into play as well. I’m sure Baker Mayfield and company remember last year’s season opener, a game in which Cleveland got hammered 43-to-13 at home against Tennessee. Mayfield threw three interceptions in that game, but that won’t happen this time. For these reasons, I’m backing Cleveland as 6-point underdogs as my top play in Week 13. PICK #2 (3 STARS): SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS +1 VS BUFFALO BILLS San Francisco’s defense is quickly getting back to form. After undergoing a rash of injuries, they have gotten some players back, which has shown on the field. Last week, they bottled up a good Rams offense and allowed just 14 first downs. Buffalo QB Josh Allen usually makes a mix of great and bad plays. I expect him to make a few mistakes that will cost his team this Monday. He is also still missing wide receiver John Brown; the offense is good, but not as great when Brown is out of the lineup. I have spoken a few times this year about how researchers have shown that peak athletic performance occurs during the late afternoon or early evening. For this reason, a West Coast team gets an advantage when playing a night game against a team from the East Coast. Each team’s record on Monday Night Football is at opposite ends: Buffalo is 0-3-1 ATS versus 13-3 for the Niners. San Francisco also holds an impressive 7-3 ATS record at home when facing a team with a winning record. The key to this game will be San Francisco’s running game who should be able to exploit a weak Buffalo run defense, who ranks 27th in the league in terms of yards allowed per carry. With Raheem Mostert back from an injury, I believe he will run wild and cause headaches to the Bills. PICK #3 (3 STARS): LOS ANGELES RAMS -2.5 AT ARIZONA CARDINALS Kyler Murray’s throwing shoulder is hurt. He didn’t look as sharp as usual last week in New England. Coincidence or not, he ran for a season-low five times both of the past two weeks. I suspect he doesn’t want to take more hits to lower the risk of aggravating his injury. After a hot start, the Cards are definitely stumbling. They have won just one of their last four matchups, and the lone win should have been a loss, if not for a miracle Hail Mary pass on the last play of the game against the Bills. Jared Goff tends to struggle when he feels pressure, otherwise he is super efficient. I expect him to have a clean pocket this Sunday, given Arizona’s pass rush who is not that great. I also like the three-headed monster at the running back position for the Rams: Darrell Henderson, Malcolm Brown and rookie Cam Akers. Los Angeles has rebounded with a win after each of their three losses in 2020. Also note that the Rams have beaten the spread the last five times they made a trip to Arizona. Another reason for taking the Rams in this contest is the mismatch on defense. Los Angeles’ defense has been great, both against the run and the pass. As for Arizona, they have a middle of the pack defense. PICK #4 (2 STARS): INDIANAPOLIS COLTS -3 AT HOUSTON TEXANS The Colts are not intimidated from playing in Houston at all: they are 7-0-1 ATS in their last eight meetings there. Indy is also a team that can rebound nicely after poor performances. Indeed, they have posted an incredible 6-0-1 ATS record after double-digit home losses. Last week, they got beaten up 45-26 against the Titans. I am aware that the Texans will benefit from three additional days of rest after playing on Thanksgiving, but the team suffered a HUGE blow when their top wide receiver (Will Fuller V) and their top cornerback (Bradley Roby) got hit with six-game suspensions for violating the league’s PEDs policy. With Randall Cobb already out and Kenny Stills being waived about a week ago, that will put the wide receiver depth to the test. I expect Indy’s defense to respond strongly after such a poor outing last week. With Deshaun Watson having less weapons at his disposal, he’ll need to do a Superman impersonation in order to keep his team afloat. I don’t think it will happen. Houston’s defense has been awful both against the run and the pass, while the Colts should get running back Jonathan Taylor back. I am worried about the Colts possibly being without their star left tackle Anthony Castonzo, but I’m still putting my money on Indy to do everything they can to keep up with the Titans for the AFC South title. PICK #5 (2 STARS): SEATTLE SEAHAWKS -10 VS NEW YORK GIANTS Last Monday, I posted an alert in my Facebook group and to people on my mailing list about a great bargain. The Seahawks were tagged as 7.5-point favorites at Bet365 at the time, while some bookies had a line of 10 points. I put a fairly big bet, then I let everyone know about this nice deal, and the line moved to 9, and then 10 points within an hour. No matter if the bet wins or loses, this was clearly a good value wager. Now that the dust has settled, I still think Seattle -10 points is an enticing play. According to the latest reports, Daniel Jones seems unlikely to play. His backup, Colt McCoy, is simply horrible. He’s been bad throughout his 11-year career, and that’s not about to change. He couldn’t get the offense going last week against a weak Cincinnati defense. I love how Seattle matches up well with the Giants. With McCoy under center, New York will need their running game to get going, but that should prove very difficult considering the Seahawks defense is 3rd in the NFL in terms of yards allowed per carry. That will force McCoy into long third downs, and the result will be catastrophic. On the other side of the ball, New York’s strength on defense is its run defense. Unfortunately for them, Seattle has a guy named Russell Wilson at quarterback who is ready to shred their pass defense. Seattle wins by at least two touchdowns and beats the spread. UNOFFICIAL PICKS For entertainment purposes, here are some leans for you: LEAN #1: Chargers +1 vs Patriots (This is a passing league, and there is a huge gap between New England’s and Los Angeles’ passing offenses. Cam Newton is banged up and his team will be travelling through three time zones to play this game.); LEAN #2: Broncos +14 at Chiefs (The weakness of K.C.’s defense is its run defense, so I think Denver can find a way to run efficiently and run out the clock a little bit. On the other side of the ball, Denver’s pass defense is among the top 10 and could limit the damage against Mahomes and company. The Broncos are 1-9 ATS in the last 10 meetings with the Chiefs, but they are a perfect 7-0 ATS after scoring 14 points or less! Drew Lock will be back under center.); LEAN #3: Dolphins -11 vs Bengals (I hope Ryan Fitzpatrick remains the starter because he is better than Tua right now. Good luck to QB Brandon Allen against a stifling Dolphins pass defense! Miami could welcome back running backs Myles Gaskin and/or Salvon Ahmed); LEAN #4: Washington +8.5 at Steelers (Pittsburgh is not nearly as good as its record indicate. Man, they played badly against the Ravens last Wednesday! Washington is fighting hard every week and they are playing sound football for head coach Ron Rivera. It won’t be an easy task for the Steelers to beat them by 9 points or more). A big thank you for reading this column every week, I hope to help you beat your bookie! Professor MJ https://youtu.be/7RFlJpe3P4E
Written Wednesday November 4th, 2020 at 11 a.m. Eastern Time (spreads/odds may have changed) ALERT, ALERT, BIG RED ALERT!!! We have a 5-star pick for just the third time this season! Here is the record of those high-confidence predictions over the past three seasons (I started rating my picks in 2018 – too bad I didn’t do it in 2017 since we had great lucrative year!): 2020 SEASON: 2-0 RECORD Week #1: Cards +7 at 49ers (win) Week #7: Jets +13 vs Bills (win) 2019 SEASON: 2-2 RECORD Week #5: 49ers -3.5 vs Browns (win) Week #7: Bears -3 vs Saints (loss) Week #14: Raiders +3 vs Titans (loss) Week #17: Cowboys -12 vs Redskins (win) 2018 SEASON: 3-0 RECORD Week #12: Ravens -10.5 vs Raiders (win) Week #12: Bills +3.5 vs Jaguars (win) Week #14: Saints -8 at Bucs (win) OVERALL: 7-2 RECORD (77.8% WIN RATE) Again, I feel obligated to remind you an important piece of advice: do not bet your house on a single bet. As a matter of fact, you shouldn’t bet more than 5% of your bankroll on one selection. Before we get going, here is a quick review of the performance of this year’s NFL picks: 5 STARS: 2-0 record 4 STARS: 4-2-1 record 3 STARS: 6-7 record 2 STARS: 1-4 record 1 STAR: 4-2 record OVERALL: 17-15-1 record (a 53.1% win rate) While the overall winning percentage is decent, notice this interesting trend: PICKS RATED 4-5 STARS: 6-2-1 record PICKS RATED 1-2-3 STARS: 11-13 record In other words, the best plays have been hitting at a higher rate. All right, let’s get started! PICK #1 (5 STARS): DENVER BRONCOS +4 AT ATLANTA FALCONS Let’s get the bad news out of the way first. The Falcons will be benefiting from three extra days of rest since they played last week’s Thursday night game. Still, I absolutely love the Broncos in this matchup. I even sent an alert to my mailing list subscribers and my Facebook/Twitter followers as early as Monday to let them know I was taking Denver. At the time, I bet the Broncos +4 points at -105 odds. I was convinced the line would only deteriorate as the week would progress and so far I’ve been right. At the time of writing (Wednesday morning), Pinnacle now has Denver +4 at -113 odds, while many bookies have dropped their line to 3.5. I believe it might even go as low as 3 points. Despite some key injuries on defense, Denver remains very solid on that side of the ball. They have lost Jurrell Casey, Mike Purcell and Von Miller. Still, their 11 starters have an average 2020 ProFootballFocus grades of 68.3, while the league average is 61.6. They have a much better defense than Atlanta’s. On offense, you might want to give the edge to the Falcons, though. However, Calvin Ridley is on the wrong side of questionable due to a foot injury he suffered last week. He is a big part of their offense. The big question is how Drew Lock will perform this Sunday. He had a good first outing against the Titans. He got hurt in Week #2 and had two straight disappointing games upon his return. Indeed, he did not throw a single TD pass versus four picks in those two matchups. Last week, trailing 24-to-3 early in the third quarter, it looked like Lock would finish with another poor performance, but he threw 3 TD passes in the second half to seal a stunning 31-30 comeback win over the Chargers. This game will certainly boost his confidence, and facing a suspect Falcons secondary should also help. A few interesting trends: The Broncos are 4-1 against the spread (ATS) in their last five games as road underdogs; The Falcons are 0-4 ATS over their past four matches as home favorites. Final note: it would help the Broncos if the coaching staff realized that Phillip Lindsay is a superior running back than Melvin Gordon. Give him more touches for crying out loud! Lindsay has rushed for over 1,000 yards both in 2018 and 2019, while averaging between 4.5 and 6.4 yards per carry in each of his three years in the NFL. Meanwhile, Gordon averages 4.2 yards per rush and he doesn’t look as explosive. I know that Gordon was given a fat contract, but you need to put your best players on the field if you want to win! PICK #2 (3 STARS): WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM -3 VS NEW YORK GIANTS First of all, I tend to back favorites coming off their bye week, as they held a 98-60-5 ATS record during a four-year span. Washington will be much more rested than New York. Not only are they coming off their bye, but the Giants fought hard against the Bucs last Monday night, which means they are getting one less day than usual to game plan and to rest for this upcoming divisional matchup. Notice that Washington will be at home for a third consecutive week, and also a fifth time in six weeks! Their lone road game during this time period was in New York, which wasn’t a long trip. Speaking of making a trip to New York, do I need to remind you that I love betting teams that have lost the first meeting between two division rivals? Back in Week 6, the Giants won a close call by a 20-to-19 score against Washington. At times, Daniel Jones looks like a franchise quarterback. He makes good throws and you start thinking he is the future of this organization. And then he makes dumb mistakes that leaves you scratching your head. He just doesn’t seem to learn from his mistakes! He is a turnover machine. I like what Kyle Allen has done this year. He has thrown four TD passes versus just one interception. Granted, he faced the Giants and the Cowboys, which are not among the league’s best defenses, but he still did his job. He has also completed close to 69% of his passes, which is impressive. He seems to have a good connection with Terry McLaurin and Logan Thomas. The Giants have beaten the spread on five of their last seven matchups in Washington, though. Still, I’m going with Washington. According to PFF grades, Washington has a slightly better defense, and a much better offensive line. PICK #3 (2 STARS): SEATTLE SEAHAWKS -2.5 AT BUFFALO BILLS It is very rare that I bet against the same team three weeks in a row, but that happens to be the case here. I am fading the Bills once again, the team that made me win my biggest wager ever last season (over 6.5 regular season wins). I have nothing against Buffalo; I just go where the value is. In this case, I think getting Seattle to lay just 2.5 points is good value. The Bills defense has been a huge disappointment this season, and they have not done much better than Seattle’s unit. Buffalo has allowed less points per game, but the average PFF grades of the 11 Seattle defensive starters stands at 63.7 versus 58.4 for Buffalo. Based on those figures, it’s hard to claim that the Bills defense is clearly superior to Seattle’s. On offense, no one is doubting the fact that the Seahawks are more powerful. They have the better quarterback for sure. At wide receiver, Buffalo has a good trio with Diggs-Brown-Beasley, but in my opinion Lockett and Metcalf are more dominant. Also, Seattle’s running game has been more convincing, although Buffalo’s ground game finally got going against the Patriots last week. Finally, the offensive lines are fairly comparable; I might even give a small edge to Seattle here. The Seahawks are 7-1 ATS on the road when facing a team with a winning record. However, they have been a losing bet against the spread in their last four matchups on turf. Meanwhile, the Bills are 3-8 ATS in their past 11 games as home underdogs. Even though the Seahawks will be playing an early Sunday game as a West Coast team, I’m taking them as 2.5-point favorites. UNOFFICIAL PICKS Last week, many people told me they appreciated the fact that I added unofficial picks to my weekly write-up. So back by popular demand, here are some leans: Colts +2.5 vs Ravens (I came close from making it an official one-star pick, but didn’t pull the trigger. Philip Rivers scares me a little bit. The Colts defense against the run ranks 2nd in the NFL in terms of yards-per-carry average, which matches up well against Baltimore. The Ravens are 0-4 ATS in their last four trips in Indy, and hold an overall 1-10 ATS record over the past 11 meetings with the Colts. Many players from Baltimore won’t practice this week after being in close contact with Marlon Humphrey, who was diagnosed with covid-19); Lions +4 at Vikings (I love betting weaker teams in a divisional road game coming off a big straight up loss. In this case, Detroit lost by 20 points last week. They are looking for revenge after losing both meetings versus Minnesota last year. Kenny Golladay is out, which hurts Detroit’s offense. The Vikings defense did surprisingly well last week against the Packers, despite fielding seven rookies. They might go back to normal and allow tons of yards/points this week); Saints +5.5 at Bucs (Tampa loses one day of preparation due to playing the Monday nighter, but will be looking to avenge a Week 1 loss to those same Saints. New Orleans beat the spread in the last four meetings with Tampa and you cannot ignore the fact that they are 20-6 ATS in their last 26 games as underdogs and 6-2 ATS on grass. The Saints could get both Emmanuel Sanders and Michael Thomas this week); Cards -4.5 vs Dolphins (We did not learn much about Tua last week since Miami’s defense and special teams won the game for them. Their defense has allowed just 11 points per game over the past three games, but I believe they are not that good and will revert to the mean. The Cards are another favorite coming off their bye week and have not had to travel in any of the last three weeks); Under 50 points Broncos-Falcons (this total seems high considering I expect both offenses to have trouble moving the ball on offense); Over 41.5 points Patriots-Jets (if we pretend like all Patriots and Jets games had a total of 41.5, the over would have gone 8-7. However, if you remove games where Cam Newton and Sam Darnold were out due to injuries, this record shoots up to 8-4. Some might argue the under is 7-1 in the last eight meetings between these two clubs, but I’m still backing the over). Best of luck my friend! Professor MJ Twitter https://twitter.com/DavidBeaudoin79 Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/ProfessorMJ https://www.youtube.com/c/ProfessorMJ/featured
Written Thursday October 22nd, 2020 at 2 p.m. Eastern Time (spreads/odds may have changed) This week we’ve got just our second 5-star play of the 2020 season! The only other one was Arizona +7 against the 49ers in Week #1, a bet that easily covered since the Cards won the game straight up by a margin of four points. Such picks rated 5 stars have done very well since I started this “Professor MJ” brand a few years ago. That being said, I’m not suggesting to bet your house on it. You’ll never hear me talk about “the lock of the century” or “100% guaranteed winner” or any similar bull$$hit. There is always risk involved. Bet at your own risk and never bet an amount that you cannot afford to lose. PICK #1 (5 STARS): NEW YORK JETS +13 VS BUFFALO BILLS Wow, picking the lowly Jets as a five-star play is pretty bold, isn’t it? Adam Gase’s team is 0-6 both straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS) this year. Since 1985, six teams have started the season with six straight losses both SU and ATS. How did these teams fare in the remainder of their season? They went 34-24 ATS, a 58.6% win rate. I like the Jets for many other reasons. The rest factor is in favor of New York since the Bills are coming off a Monday night game. Also, NFL teams tend to do very well in the rematch against a division rival after losing the first meeting of the season. In this case, Buffalo won 27-17 in Week #1, which makes the Jets a good play based on this betting angle. Finally, the Bills have been struggling a lot recently. They blew a 25-point lead against the Rams before escaping with the win, thanks to a questionable pass interference penalty on fourth down in the final drive. They got hammered 42-16 against a depleted Titans team two weeks ago. Last week, losing 26-17 against the Chiefs may not look bad on paper, but if you watched the game you know what I’m talking about. The Bills were out of sync on offense, where Josh Allen looked more like the 2018 or 2019 version of himself. And their defense was gashed on the ground by allowing 5.3 yards per carry. This unit was supposed to be among the league’s best, but they an average of 28 points per game. Meanwhile, Sam Darnold has a shot to be back under center. He is a big improvement over Joe Flacco, and he would finally have some weapons around him with Jamison Crowder, Breshad Perriman and maybe rookie Denzel Mims who could make his NFL debut. Some bookies have already lowered their spread to 12, but at the time I’m making this video BetOnline still has 13. This is where I placed my bet. I really like New York to cover in this one. PICK #2 (3 STARS): KANSAS CITY CHIEFS -9.5 AT DENVER BRONCOS Over the last nine meetings between these two clubs, Kansas City holds an 8-1 record ATS. If you focus on games played in Denver only, the Chiefs have beaten the spread on six consecutive occasions. Sure, Kansas City loses one day of rest after playing the Monday nighter. But in my opinion, elite teams fare well when facing adversity. They are a well-coached team and it won’t affect them that much. The Broncos are coming off a nice upset win in New England. Quarterback Drew Lock made two incredibly bad decisions that almost gave the game away, but he should be thankful that his defense saved the day. Denver’s offense struggled most of the day and couldn’t score more than 18 points despite the Pats turning the ball over three times. They won’t be able to keep up with KC’s offense, who are unlikely to take them lightly, considering it’s a divisional game. PICK #3 (3 STARS): LAS VEGAS RAIDERS +4 VS TAMPA BAY BUCS I feel like the public is getting overexcited following Tampa’s convincing win over the Packers. It was indeed an impressive outing where emotions were high, which makes this non-conference matchup a trap game for them. Las Vegas is also coming off their bye week, which is always a nice advantage. Tampa’s top three receivers (Evans-Godwin-Miller) are all likely to play, but are nursing injuries. On the defensive side of the ball, the loss of nose tackle Vita Vea for the rest of the year was a big blow and is an underrated loss for this squad. They also have three good guys on defense who are listed as questionable: LB Lavonte David and DEs Jason Pierre-Paul and William Gholston. The Raiders have beaten the Chiefs, the Saints and the Panthers, while losing to Buffalo and New England. In other words, there wasn’t a single easy opponent (Carolina was expected to be weak, but they are off to a nice start). I’m taking the Raiders as home underdogs here. PICK #4 (1 STAR): SEATTLE SEAHAWKS -3 AT ARIZONA CARDINALS Seattle is coming off their bye week, while the Cards lose one day of preparation after playing the Monday night game. Arizona also had to travel on three straight weeks prior to this week, which isn’t easy. I’m pretty sure the Seahawks remember the last time they faced Kliff Kingsbury’s squad: a 27-13 home loss in Week #16 that hurt their chances of clinching a first-round bye. Payback time! Over the last 11 meetings between these two rivals, the road team has a 9-1-1 record ATS. Please note that the “under” was a winning bet in each of the last five matchups. As mentioned last week, I also like to back road favorites coming off a bye week. A reminder that such teams showed a jaw-dropping 15-1-2 ATS record over four seasons (they went 1-1 last week though). Best of luck with your plays and I’ll see you again next week! Professor MJ https://www.youtube.com/c/ProfessorMJ/featured Twitter: @DavidBeaudoin79 FB: ProfessorMJ www.professormj.com